Postpartum and addiction recovery of women in opioid use disorder treatment: A qualitative study

Caitlin E. Martin (Lead / Corresponding author), Tawany Almeida, Bhushan Thakkar, Tiffany Kimbrough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Postpartum is a highly vulnerable time for women with opioid use disorder (OUD). Our primary objective was to identify patient and provider reported aspects of the pregnancy to postpartum transition that impact recovery progress for postpartum women receiving medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD). Methods: This qualitative study consisted of semi-structured interviews with postpartum women in OUD treatment (n = 12) and providers (n = 9) at an outpatient addiction clinic. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using an editing style approach to report themes and quotes. Results: Patients and providers identified different themes that both promote and challenge recovery during the postpartum transition. These comprised of clinical factors, including MOUD, neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) and pain associated with labor and delivery as well as psychosocial factors, such as role of a support system, mental health aspects of anxiety and depression causing mood changes, stigma and mistrust among healthcare providers and child welfare. Conclusions: Patients receiving MOUD and their providers identified multiple aspects unique to the postpartum transition that substantially strengthen and/or oppose OUD recovery. These aspects impacting recovery include factors specific to the receipt of MOUD treatment and those not specific to MOUD, yet tied to the postpartum state. Overall, these findings provide insight into areas for future research focused on identifying opportunities to promote recovery-oriented care for families affected by OUD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-396
Number of pages8
JournalSubstance Abuse
Issue number1
Early online date1 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome
  • Opioid use disorder
  • postpartum
  • recovery
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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